As online contact lens resellers vie for a larger market share, several trends have emerged in optometry that have potential implications on quality of contact lens care. When proposals emerge that threaten the integrity of the doctor-patient relationship or threaten to reduce the eye care provider’s role in contact lens care, CooperVision advocated tirelessly on behalf of the profession.
In 2015, CooperVision joined as an executive member of the Coalition for Patient Vision Care Safety. Comprised of the AOA, Johnson & Johnson, B&L, Alcon and CooperVision, the Coalition advocates for contact lens patient safety on many fronts. The Coalition’s original focus was on the FTC’s 10-year review of the Contact Lens Rule. CooperVision and other coalition members have met with FTC commissioners and members of the U.S. Congress to express opposition to the Rule’s proposed changes.(CooperVision’s analysis of the Contact Lens Rule and its proposed changes can be read HERE)
As a part of the Coalition, CooperVision has helped draft comments submitted by Coalition to the FTC (October 2015 and January 2016) and has conducted meetings to express our opposition to the proposed changes with FTC Commissioners and staff: with FTC Chair Ramirez in the fall of 2016, with individual commissioners throughout the spring and summer of 2016 and with Interim Chair Ohlhausen in 2017. In addition to our coalition activities, CooperVision submitted independent public comments in opposition to the proposed changes in both October of 2015 and January of 2016.
CooperVision also focused efforts on Congressional advocacy: encouraging greater oversight of the FTC and educating members of Congress and their staffs about contact lens patient safety. Those meetings have included:
- Meetings with Sen. Klobuchar’s and Sen. Rubio’s office, along with other Coalition members
- Two educational sessions with Congressional staff, along with other Coalition members
- Other informational meetings with congressional staff
- Meeting with the FTC Chairperson in October 2016
- Meeting with the acting FTC Chairperson in May 2017
- Meeting with Congressman Bill Foster of IL during AOA Meeting in June
CooperVision has also joined state advocacy efforts in instances where patient care could potentially be compromised. These efforts have included lobbying against telemedicine and extended prescription expiration dates in several states, as well as lobbying for in-person eye exams. CooperVision’s position on these matters, whether at the state or federal level, is one of opposition to changes that reduce the ECPs ability to check health and safety of contact lens wearers on a reasonably frequent basis.